We’ve all heard that you are what you eat – while it’s not exactly a foolproof rule, there is plenty of science to back up the idea that when you eat well, you’re more likely to feel well.
Choose whole foods from natural sources, and that includes healthy fats. Research has shown not only are heathy fats good for your body, they are also good for your mind and mood.
We’ve long heard how eating trans-fats (or trans fatty acids) can be a detriment to your health, especially your arteries. These are mainly artificial fats, also called partially hydrogenated oils, created in a chemical process that, when consumed, lead to inflammation and impaired function of the cells that line your blood vessels. This has been linked to heart disease, risk of stroke and more.
The American Heart Organization recommends avoiding industrially manufactured trans-fats, found in fried foods like French fries and doughnuts, and baked goods like pastries, pizza dough, crackers and margarine.
However, the body needs fat, especially for neurological function, so which ones are healthy fats? Look to more natural foods with Omega 3 fatty acids, such as tree nuts, wild seafood and plant fats like coconut oil. These heart healthy fats have been shown to do more than help keep your arteries clear—can help you eat smart, and clear your mind and emotions, too.
A few years ago Spanish researchers discovered that the suspected link between certain kinds of fats and mental health was profound. Following over 12,000 university graduates with no symptoms of depression, they tracked their consumption of different types of dietary habits for six years, as well as the incidence of depression.
The results linked trans-fats to a significantly increased risk for depression symptoms. Compared with people who consumed diets low in trans-fats, individuals with elevated levels of trans-fats had a 48% increased risk for depression.
In the same study, it was found those with a diet rich in other kinds of fats, particularly monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), and olive were less likely to become depressed. These findings reinforce the results of many other studies that have supported the benefits of healthy fats to mental health, mood and cognitive health (thinking sharper with less brain fog).